Con­sider the driv­ing force

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - OPINION - LEO LYNCH For­mer JP, Ben­ton County Ed­i­tor’s note: Leo Lynch, an award-win­ning colum­nist, is a na­tive of Ben­ton County and has deep roots in north­west Ar­kan­sas. The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the author. He is a re­tired in­dus­trial engi­neer and for­mer

The 2018 mid-term bal­lot­ing is be­hind us, but the elec­tion is far from be­ing over. As we were ad­vised over the last few months, the state of Florida would get a lot of at­ten­tion from the news me­dia. That will con­tinue for a few more days or weeks be­cause the United States Se­nate seat and the Florida gov­er­nor’s race are in “re­count” ter­ri­tory. A pre­dic­tion of less than one per­cent in the Se­nate race proved to be true. With over four mil­lion votes for each can­di­date, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two party can­di­dates was/is 0.4 per­cent. The Re­pub­li­can can­di­date, Rick Scott, had 50.2 per­cent and the Demo­crat, in­cum­bent Sen­a­tor Bill Nel­son, had 49.8 per­cent of the over eight mil­lion votes counted. With a count this close a re­count is au­to­matic. The ap­par­ent win­ner, Rick Scott, is claim­ing “fraud” over the out­come. He wants a greater mar­gin of vic­tory, I guess. Broward County, one of Florida’s 67 coun­ties con­tin­ues to be the cen­ter of con­tro­versy. Where have we heard that be­fore?

The Florida Gov­er­nor’s race is also in the re­count cat­e­gory. An­drew Gil­lum, the Demo­crat can­di­date, had con­ceded ear­lier, but when he found that he was within the re­count mar­gin (the dif­fer­ence was around 33,000 votes or 0.41 per­cent un­of­fi­cially), he re­tracted his con­ces­sion. For­mer Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Ron DeSan­tis, the Re­pub­li­can “win­ner,” has moved on and it is re­ported that he has be­gun form­ing his tran­si­tion team.

When I look at our na­tion, it is easy to view it like a very large lux­ury cruise ship at sea. The mul­ti­ple decks of lux­ury suites, the swim­ming pools, el­e­gant din­ners, bars and en­ter­tain­ing shows are de­signed to make ev­ery­one for­get the real world. It is de­signed for a fan­tasy world and me­mories to be taken home to jus­tify the ex­pense. The sales brochure shows a blue calm ocean and all the lux­ury one can imag­ine. A per­fect world for re­lax­ation on va­ca­tion or honey­moon.

What is not seen ex­cept by the ex­pe­ri­enced trav­eller and the crews, is what makes this gi­gan­tic dream ship move. Down below there is an en­gine room with the abil­ity to pro­vide not just the power to move the ship, but also sup­ply the en­ergy for all the fun and games. This power re­minds me of the money be­hind all the ac­tiv­i­ties of our na­tion. Un­seen by most of us the power of wealth is not eas­ily vis­i­ble to the joy­ous, happy vot­ing Amer­i­cans who don’t take time to get below the tourist deck.

And, also un­no­ticed by the ma­jor­ity of the rev­el­ers on board, is at least one big pro­pel­lor, which is driven by all those en­gines. This could be likened to our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem which draws all its driv­ing force from the power of money and has an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for all it can get.

Also un­seen above the wa­ter line is a rud­der which de­ter­mines the di­rec­tion of the ship (or our na­tion). For the sake of this ex­am­ple, let’s think of the rud­der as the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. Us­ing the power (the money) of the sys­tem, the ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties de­pend on the con­tri­bu­tions of the wealthy to se­lect our choices of can­di­dates. Whether called Re­pub­li­can, Demo­crat, In­de­pen­dent, or some other party la­bel, money is the in­flu­ence that con­trols our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. We might ig­nore it but it doesn’t go away.

It is easy to over­look the de­tails of our worldly sys­tem and this might not be a good ex­am­ple for you. It does, how­ever, help me un­der­stand why we ac­cept things dur­ing the good times if we are en­joy­ing “the cruise.” When the boat docks and we aren’t en­joy­ing the pleas­antries, re­al­ity sets in. As in Florida, we re­al­ize we are be­ing di­vided by the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and used by our po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

If half of the peo­ple in Florida are un­happy with what is go­ing on in Wash­ing­ton, the other half must be con­tent — at least with the choices of can­di­dates that the po­lit­i­cal par­ties chose. The po­lit­i­cal par­ties are guar­an­teed to be the win­ner. If a party’s can­di­dates are al­ready tied to the fi­nan­cial strings of the party, who­ever wins in the pri­mary is a good choice for the party in the long run.

Un­til Amer­ica looks closely at who ac­tu­ally se­lects their choice of po­lit­i­cal party can­di­dates, the rud­der will take the na­tion (or ship) where the rud­der wishes.

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